ABS Festival & Academy
"The Glorious Court of Dresden"

AUGUST 3 – 12 2018

The 9th annual ABS Festival & Academy will take place August 3–12, 2018 in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and San Francisco’s Saint Mark’s Lutheran Church. Each summer festival focuses on a different aspect of the world of Baroque music, and for 2018, ABS Artistic Director Jeffrey Thomas has chosen the music of Germany with a particular emphasis on The Glorious Court of Dresden, known for the extraordinary quality of music that was composed for the electors and kings of Saxony who upheld the highest artistic and cultural standards for their subjects. Its splendid Baroque and Rococo architecture brought the city its nickname as the “Jewel Box,” and a distinguished roster of performers and composers made it one of Europe’s most important musical capitals. A full array of free events—including public master classes, lectures, concerts, and colloquia—complement the performances by American Bach Soloists in two exceptionally fine venues.

The Glorious Court of Dresden

Friday August 3 2018 8:00 p.m.
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, San Francisco

Johann Friedrich Fasch: Trumpet Concerto in D Major
Johann Joachim Quantz: Flute Concerto in E Minor
Johann Georg Pisendel: Violin Concerto in D Major
Jan Dismas Zelenka: Sinfonia à 8 in A Minor
Johann David Heinichen: Ouverture in G Major 

John Thiessen trumpet • Sandra Miller flute • Robert Mealy violin 
American Bach Soloists
Jeffrey Thomas conductor 

Sandra Miller & Robert Mealy

Dresden’s renowned Hofkapelle court orchestra was the finest in Germany during the Baroque era and brought prestige to the city, establishing its rank as one of the most important musical centers throughout Europe. A wealth of composers wrote their finest compositions for the ensemble. This program shows just how adept the musicians of the Hofkapelle were.

To Dresden With Love

Saturday August 4 2018 8:00 p.m.
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, San Francisco

Antonio Vivaldi: Dixit Dominus
Francesco Maria Veracini: Ouverture in B-flat major
Antonio Vivaldi: Concerto in D Major “fatto per Maestro Pisendel”
Johann Sebastian Bach: Preise dein glücke gesegnetes Sachsen 
(“Praise your good fortune, blessed Saxony”)

Clara Rottsolk soprano • Judith Malafronte contralto
Matthew Hill tenor • William Sharp baritone
with Morgan Balfour soprano & Kevin Gino tenor
Jude Ziliak violin
American Bach Choir • American Bach Soloists
Jeffrey Thomas

Clara Rottsolk • Matthew Hill • Judith Malafronte • William Sharp

A stunning setting of “Dixit Dominus” by Vivaldi, recently discovered in Dresden, features some of the composer’s most pictorial musical imagery and what has become known as Vivaldi’s most brilliantly executed double fugue for chorus. Bach’s congratulatory cantata, “Praise your good fortune, blessed Saxony,” for the anniversary of the election of August III, Elector of Saxony, as King of Poland, was first performed in October 1734 in the presence of the Elector. A grand and flattering testimonial to the high esteem in which he was held by Bach, the American Bach Choir and a full Baroque orchestra with trumpets and drums join in singing the praises of Dresden’s celebrated Elector.

Bach’s Mass in B Minor

Sunday August 5 2018 7:00 p.m.
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, San Francisco

Sunday August 12 2018 2:00 p.m.
San Francisco Conservatory of Music

American Bach Choir & ABS Academy Festival Orchestra
Jeffrey Thomas conductor
Jeffrey Thomas

An annual pilgrimage for many concert-goers, ABS’s performances of the work that represents the pinnacle of Baroque music are legendary, especially in the passionate and dedicated hands of ABS Academy faculty and participants. 

Handel’s Semele

Thursday August 9 2018 7:30 p.m.
San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Friday August 10 2018 7:30 p.m.
San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Academy Singers & ABS Academy Festival Orchestra
Jeffrey Thomas conductor
Academy Orchestra

Large-scale opera and oratorio is a major component of every ABS Summer Festival. Based on an English opera libretto yet designated “after the manner of an Oratorio,” Handel’s Semele melds the two forms into one superb work. 

Baroque Masters

Saturday August 11 2018 8:00 p.m.
San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber: Sonata à sei & Sonata IV à cinque
Johann Pachelbel: Partie à 5 in G major
Johann Sebastian Bach: Sonata in G major for Flute, Viola da gamba and Basso continuo
Georg Philipp Telemann: Sonata in E-flat major for Oboe and Harpsichord concertato

Johann Sebastian Bach: Der Friede sei mit dir ("Peace be with you"), Cantata 158
Johann Joachim Quantz: Sonata in G Major for Flute and Basso continuo
Jan Dismas Zelenka: Trio Sonata in B-Flat Major for Oboe, Violin, and Basso continuo

American Bach Soloists 
featuring Max van Egmond baritone

Max van Egmond

A showcase for the virtuosi of ABS, this program presents dazzling works by Bach, Biber, Pachelbel, Quantz, Schmelzer, Telemann, and Zelenka. Legendary bass-baritone Max van Egmond makes his ABS Festival farewell performance. 

Free Academy Events

The American Bach Soloists Academy—the educational component of the ABS Summer Bach Festival—offers advanced conservatory-level students and emerging professionals unique opportunities to study and perform Baroque music in a multi-disciplinary learning environment.

Public Colloquia - Saturday August 4 at 2:00 p.m. in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (Free)

Begun in the first year of the ABS Academy, Public Colloquia have provided opportunities for community audience members and performers to join ABS Academy participants and their faculty in an afternoon of inquiry, ideas, and broad perspectives on each Festival’s theme. The three 45-minute sessions of this year’s colloquium will begin with the faculty of the ABS Academy as they offer their perspectives on the progress and evolution of period performance style over the past decades. A review of the rich history of Historically Informed Performance Practice—surveying the pioneering approaches of Harnoncourt & Leonhardt, Rifkin versus his opposition, and the contributions of Gardiner, Koopman, Suzuki, Herreweghe, and others—will provide a forum for ABS musicians to discuss their own different individual approaches to HIPP. The second session will be a tribute to one of the most prolifically recorded Baroque music artists, Max van Egmond, who joins the ABS Academy faculty for the last time this summer. His colleagues will offer anecdotes about their most memorable collaborations with the celebrated singer, who will speak personally with reminiscences about his own history in HIPP. The third session will be given by ABS lecturer, Victor Gavenda, who will talk about the subject of the opening weekend’s concerts, Dresden and its magnificent court orchestra. 
  • Academy-In-Action "Baroque Marathon" - Academy participants are featured exclusively in two programs of Academy-in-Action ”Baroque Marathon” Concerts offering chamber vocal and instrumental works by Baroque masters. (Free)
  • Lecture Series - Join the members of the American Bach Soloists Academy for a series of enlightening and informative public lectures presented by the Academy faculty on a wide range of subjects centered on Festival themes. (Free)
  • Master Class Series - The ABS Academy opens its doors to the public to witness the artistic transformations that make Master Classes so tremendously exciting, as performers and their master teachers share their knowledge and insights. (Free)
ABS Festival

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